Updated: Feb 19
Carolyn is a busy woman! A truly inspiring, hard working actress who has migrated her way south from Canada to the sunshiney shores of Los Angeles. We spoke to her about her journey and what it means to truly follow your dreams.
Photo credit: Dana Patrick
What brought you to LA?
After 20 years of being a paralegal in Canada, through both necessity and desire, I caught the acting bug. Starting in 2012 I created a few webseries and a short film. Then, I applied for a Visa to work in the US because of specific US projects. Once I got the Visa, my husband said I should establish a base of operations in LA to accommodate getting more work there. We debated what was the greater sacrifice: going to LA and sacrificing being together day-to-day (he remains in Canada), or being 85 years old one day and wondering “what if”? We want to know the “what if”. We packed up my vehicle – packed to the roof like a Jenga stack - and drove over 1,500 miles to LA from Calgary in late February 2018. After a few trips to Costco and Ikea; some wrist-busting assembly of furniture by my husband; and presto, here I am. I should add, I never assembled Ikea furniture before in my life. My husband tried to get everything put together, but there were several items that he couldn’t get finished before he left. You know you have a rock solid marriage when you can successfully assemble Ikea furniture with your husband giving instructions over FaceTime from another country.
What is the biggest misconception about you?
My friends and family know that I am actually a big “nerd”. I am super detail-oriented and a compulsive note taker. I bring pens, highlighters and post-it notes with me almost everywhere. I feel lost if I don’t have a notebook with me. I love sitting in the front row, whether in classes or at an event. I am super-competitive at board games and card games. I love playing games like Catan, Pandemic, Cards Against Humanity, and Canasta. I am also a fierce Texas Hold’em player and have played in tournaments in Las Vegas. I also do the New York Times, The Observer, and LA Times Sunday Crossword every week - IN PEN!
If you weren't doing this as a career, what would you be doing?
I was a paralegal for 20 years before embarking upon this career. In that time, it never occurred to me to become an actor or content creator. Since I started down that path, I literally can’t conceive of anything else I want to do. I love the actor’s creativity of bringing to life and adding something new to the characters written by others. When I’m not doing that, I am creating my own characters and stories. Although it’s still a little spooky (I’m getting used to it) I sometimes wake up suddenly at 4:30 in the morning (a few hours shy of when I like to get up) and have to write down a story idea or character that has suddenly struck me like lightning in my sleep.
What gives you hope?
People describe me as driven. In this business there is always something more that you could be doing, even though there is so much that is beyond your control. I find a kind of peace in staying focused on a task at hand. But, like anyone else, I can’t help but sometimes question and doubt what I am doing and why. This is an industry that will scream the word “no” at you hundreds of times before you hear a “yes”. In those dark doubting hours I look to the amazing people around me – friends, family, and members of my team – and they remind me of the list of past wins (large and small) that have come my way. The person closest to me, my husband, is the one in the group who is always there and always succeeds in building me back up, quashing my doubts, and restoring my hope. It gives me hope to think that if I am lucky enough to find “one little carrot”, and just keep going a little further, I’ll eventually come across another “little carrot”. And maybe, at some point, I’ll find a “big carrot”.
What was the last show you binge watched?
Castle Rock was the last series I binge watched. I am a big Stephen King fan. I loved reading his books when I was a teenager, and have enjoyed films and series based off of his writing. For Castle Rock, the story itself was entertaining like his books, but it was also entertaining to see the mesh of characters and locations from so many of his books come together as part of one story. I also really enjoyed his book “On Writing” where he shared a bit about his life and his take on creating characters and the craft of writing. Having read this book, I found a new level of enjoyment of the stories he tells. This is one instance were learning “how the sausage is made” has not spoiled the enjoyment.
Who do you look up to in the industry, and what is it that they are doing that inspires you?
I am drawn to the comedy genre as a writer and creator, so I would have to say that I am inspired by the likes of Ben Stiller, Tina Fay, Seth Rogen, Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer and Amy Poehler. I admire strong comedic actors, who are also writing, producing, and sometimes even directing, their own projects. I am inspired by people who make their own work. I know how much work it is to bring even a small project, like a webseries or short film, to life so I can imagine how much more is involved when it is a feature film or a television series.
What is something people don't know about you, but you wish they did?
Some people know that I lost over 110 pounds more than 20 years ago, and have kept the weight off ever since. But, most people don’t realize that maintaining this weight loss requires constant ongoing effort, work and commitment. I am very regimented about both exercise and nutrition. I work out almost every day, alternating days of cardio with days of cardio and weight training. I also eat 5 – 6 small meals every day. I weigh and measure my food, and count protein, carbs, sugar and fat for all my meals so I know I am getting enough, but also not getting too much.
Sure, there are times when I don’t maintain this regimen. I don’t beat myself up. I just get back on track as soon as I can. Even Olympic athletes can’t be at their peak all year round. I see it as an “Off Season” and get back to “On Season” as quickly I can.
I also don’t allow myself to feel deprived. If I really want to have a “treat”, I will eat it with awareness that I will have to work a bit harder at the gym the next day. I try to take a moment and “weigh out” (pardon the pun) if it is worthwhile for me to enjoy something out of my typical diet.
What can people expect from you in 2020?
I currently have several projects in various stages of development. I co-wrote, with my husband, a pilot for a half hour comedy series about a Type A OCD female lawyer who has to reset her priorities and adapt to the effects of a life changing accident. My hope is to shoot this as a spec pilot and proof of concept. I am the head writer for another comedy series in development about people in a mobile food services business in one of Canada’s largest western cities and home of the largest rodeo in the world. I am also on the writing team for another new comedy series. It is a modern twist on the fish-out-of-water story, with collisions of cultures and personalities - with varying degrees of “culture” one might say (a cheese joke) - set in a rural Southern town. I continue to audition for other projects in Los Angeles and in Canada.